George Collins USA Worldbeat

Worldbeat with George Collins – Kathleen Siminyu Parts 1 and 2

Computers have taken over the world as one of my old high school teachers once said. Indeed this here podcast wouldn’t be possible without them. And we become more conscious of their role in our lives as the group of new technologies collectively sitting under the “digital” label pull greater scrutiny of their impact on our everyday interactions. We in North America and Europe talk about these effects of social media flexing on suburban white kids and our coworkers at the water cooler, but we don’t talk about the effects on kids in middle and lower-income countries. The author Amitav Ghosh wrote of Syrian refugee children who believed they’d be safe in rickety boats crossing the Mediterranean so long as their phones were charged. On a macro level, the digital space has set new stages for economic development, especially on the African continent which has served as a laboratory for global development policies for decades. Computerization, and our guest’s specialty machine learning, will play pivotal roles in the next century of societal change across Africa, and questions of whom that technology serves and who owns the digital space will be pivotal in ensuring equitable access. Joining George Collins on WorldBeat is Kathleen Siminyu. Ms. Siminyu is an AI Researcher who focuses on Natural Language Processing for African Languages. She works at The Mozilla Foundation as a Machine Learning Fellow and prior to that was the Regional Coordinator of AI4D Africa. She has vast experience as a community organizer having co-organised the Nairobi Women in Machine Learning and Data Science community for three years. Intro/outro music by Batata K1ng 

Part 2

 

Computers, artificial intelligence, and machine learning carry reputations as great equalizers free of human error and false judgement, yet these devices require inputs from humans to function and therefore reflect the prejudices of their programmers, Scholars such as Kathleen herself and the American sociologist Ruha Benjamin explain this phenomenon in their writing and organizing. Here Kathleen details the dynamics of a design world dominated by a select group of elites, the promise of decentralized AI in creating a more equitable tech sector, and the importance of people around the world creating and expressing themselves in their languages. Outro track Shinkansen 2 by Lost Integrity: https://lostintegrity.bandcamp.com/album/super-express

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